Tuesday, August 17, 2004

First Day at the Trade Show 

Manager called last night with a brief report of her first day at the Trade Show.

She made it through about half the exhibits, spoke with a number of people, and a few recognized her (or rather, the name of the Cracked Cauldron). She said she liked being able to put faces to the voices she'd been talking to.

She has samples that will be shipped here in the coming days. That ought to be interesting.

She saw ovens that would produce 8,000 loaves a minute. Amazing. And far, far too large for us.

She met with a lot of ingredient suppliers, but hasn't yet found a baker's shortening supplier that doesn't use soy. Since she's very allergic to soy, she's more sensitive to the allergy needs of others. Palm oil shortening would be a good, inexpensive substitute. It's flavorless, has a high burn point, blends well, and makes for a light product. Best of all, it passes the new federal regulations for the trans-fats that bakers will need to watch for, and include on future labels.

She was impressed with a dual laminator/extruder for dough - versatile enough to roll cookie dough, croissant dough, flakey pastry doughs, and extrude coils for shaped rolls. The extruder part will make the Celtic Knot Rolls a cinch to produce!

She met several companies that do nutritional analysis of foods as back-ups - we can't depend on the university's good will forever.

She said at first people sort of glossed over her as if she were invisible, but then she got bolder and started talking to them. Now, they talk to her and answer her questions, and many swiped her badge to send her more information.

After the Trade Show, she hung out in her room, watching the sun set, then went in search of dinner - probably at the Arby's she saw from her window.

Today, she'll be concentrating on looking for flour silos and storage containers, as well as bread slicers.

She'll be using at least 8 tons of hard red winter wheat a month. Sugar might be approaching that quantity as well. She'll need pest-resistent containers to store that in. The other flours and ingredients will be less in quantity, but no less in need of proper storage.

I know 8 tons doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider that's only one of the types of flours she'll be using, since we'll also be using whole wheat, ryes, corn meals, cornstarch, wheat proteins, wheat glutens, soft spring wheat, cake flours, quinoa, and others so she can offer breads for most diets and allergies.

And then, there are the pies, pastries, cakes, and soups...those ingredients will also require storage containers.

On the non-business side, her cell phone has some genuine connectivity problems. She wonders if it's because of the storms in the area and the flooding. Las Vegas is in a valley, after all.

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